Summary: Knowing the brevity of life, how will we invest what God has entrusted us with?

[I am indebted to a sermon by Maxie Dunnam as a major source for this sermon]. Found in his book, "Pack Up Your Troubles"


In reaching mid-life I have wondered, "What has my

life accomplished and where am I going with the

second half?"

*I know I have gotten to mid-life because lately people have been calling me “sir,” which I don’t like too much. The gray hairs are also a daily reminder.

One thing we know more clearly as we go along:

life is short in the scheme of things!

*Obituary column- Notice how many young people?

*Even the death and dying expert Elizabeth Kubler

Ross recently died. No one is safe!

From the book, "The Purpose Driven Life":

Chapter 5 begins, “The way you see your life shapes

your life.” He goes on the write, “One of the best ways to understand other people is to ask them, “How do you see your life?”

He goes to briefly outline a few options:

(1)If you think life is a party then your ongoing goal will be to have fun. Don’t you know some people like that? For them life all about partying and sports and not taking anything serious.

(2)If you see life as a race you will value speed and will probably be in a hurry much of the time. Spending time at another home recently, (taking care of kids while parents away). Flurry of activity!

(3)If you view life as a marathon you will value


(4)If you see life as a battle or a game, winning will be very important to you.

Text: James 4.13-17

Most of us think that our lives are like big

redwood trees!

Q: How many have plans for next year? Or ten years

from now? Youth are especially susceptible to this.

Ilus: A pastor speaking at a Baptist church during

Student Recognition Day:

“Young people, you may not think you are going to die,

but you are. One of these days, they’ll take you to the cemetery, drop you in a hole, throw some dirt on your face, and go back to the church and eat potato salad.”

We just assume out lives go on an on without end; that

we will somehow win this battle with mortality.

Our lives are like a mist- Verse 14

Not even a cup of water...not even an ice cube...

A mist that appears for a little while!

James is saying, “Don’t be arrogant about life.”

We think we control time and events:

time- “today or tomorrow”

purpose- “we will go”

place- “to this or that city” (my situation)

goals- “to carry on business”

reward- “make money”


In one of Arthur Miller’s plays called The Price, a

middle-aged couple are reminiscing. Life had turned out to be a disappointment. They thought they had it all mapped out. They knew what they wanted to do, the academic degrees they needed. Their goals had seemed clear. But they never realized those goals.

At a climatic moment of the play, the woman says to her husband, “Everything was always temporary with us. It’s as if we never were anything. We were always just about to be.”

Isn’t that tragic--but not too uncommon! Many of us look at our lives at mid-life or even later and wonder not only how it went by so fast but wonder what it was all about.

When we know that our lives are like a mist, it should

affect our choices.

Interesting how people handle opportunities in life so


*Joseph story in O.T.: He made good out of the

cards that were dealt him--and in the end he saw

good in what had happened to him.

*I can relate to that. I have found myself in a situation where others did things that seemed like injustice to me and I had to decide to forgive and move forward. Otherwise it could have destroyed my ministry or even my faith!

Point of this text in James is to remind ourselves that our lives are a gift from God, an opportunity to use for the love of God and others.

Read Verses 15-17

Ilustration:Roy L. Smith, a preacher of another generation once told his congregation about the day he watched his five year old boy head off

to kindergarten. He looked at the proud little fellow, scrubbed and starched...little box of pencils in his hand and a smile on his face.The little boy turned around to wave at his mother and daddy one more

time. “And he never returned,” Dr. Smith said. No, the boy wasn’t killed or kidnapped. He came home at noontime. But he wasn’t the same boy anymore. And he never again would be. He had launched into the sea of a new life.”

We are called to live our lives with the attitude found in verse 15: Our lives are really God’s.

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